Please Pay Rent to Your Parents
Barrington H. Brennen, January 15, 2016
During the nearly forty years of my professional life, I
have often met independent, working adult children who
are living with their parents but who do not pay them
rent for their living accommodations. They do not even
think about it and neither do their parents.
I am amazed of the parents who feel they should not charge
their working adult children for staying in the home with
them. These adult children sometimes are even making more
money than their parents. The home turns out to be a
luxurious hotel with well trained and experienced
concierge—the mom or dad. Tasty meals are cooked and on
time by a dedicated over-worked executive chef—mom or dad.
They are served like royalty in a palace. There is the
laundry facility with standard built-in free maid service.
The cable and telephone are standard free services that
come with live telephone-message-taking-personnel. The
house-cleaning service is gratis. The
late-night-turn-off-the-lights service is standard feature
by the homeowners. The trimming and cleaning of the yard
is a gift to these adult children by a
Is this for real? Yes it is. There are few parents who do
manage to get some funds from their adult working children
by asking them to pay a particular bill in the home. In
some instances, this might appear to be equitable but in
other cases it is minuscule. Parents should sit down and
look at the bills, consumption, and income to intelligently
decide on the method to be used.
No adult working child is to live at home with parents
without being “charged” a reasonable fee. Parents, when
your child becomes an adult, you cease “parenting” them.
You moved from parenting to mentoring. Parents give
unsolicited advice. Mentors give solicited advice. As
mentors you treat your children just like independent
responsible adults. The amount of their income has nothing
to do with the principle. So stop parenting them by
thinking you should not charge them for living in the home
Far too many children are taking advantage of their parents’
kindness and generosity. Adult working children should
consider living with their parents as a privilege and not a
requirement. Yes, your parents may charge you less than the
amount you would have to pay if you were living alone.
However, you are to be a responsible adult by not taking
for granted the generosity of your parents.
Parents, the age of your offspring does not really does not
matter when it comes to responsibility and accountability.
Some children start working full-time from age 18-20.
Others start working after completing a college degree at a
later age. It does not matter the age. What is important
is that you are to treat them like adults. Adults have
responsibilities. Do not enable them to be lazy, dependent,
uncaring, or irresponsible. If your adult children who are
living at home refuse to seek a job, do not coddle them.
Inform them that being an adult calls for taking care of
themselves and you are not responsible for taking care of
them in any way. Give your not-working-adult-child a time
limit to find a job. It is my view that adult children
should not be living at home after age 26; and if they do
live at home, they are to be treated like independent
adults. No adult child should view the home of their
childhood years as a place to throw down the anchor and
settle in. Parents, you are to raise you children to get
them out of the house, not to keep them there.
Here are a few suggestive guidelines for parents with adult
working children living with them and for the children
Parents, long before your adult children begin full-time
work, discuss with them your expectations about living
accommodations, fees, and their responsibilities living
with you if they choose to. Put all the cards on the
Set rental fee fairly. The fee should be within a
reasonable range depending on the salary of the child
and amenities. There will need to be openness and
honesty on both sides to accomplish this.
Let the child know that there is no free service.
Everything, including preparing of meals, washing of
clothes, etc., is no longer required by parents to do
for independent adult children, even when they are
living with them. If the child wishes to engage the
parents for these things, they are to be negotiated with
a price tag to it.
Have an understanding regarding boundaries around
relationships, opposite sex visitations, etc. Remember
your child is an adult.
Parents, respect your adult child’s rights to create his
or her own world. Their choices of activities, times to
come home, etc. are their own. However, if you are
unable to support or agree on the lifestyle of your
child, then you should ask her to move out. Constantly
questioning the adult child by saying: “Where have you
been?” is not healthy. Many parent-child relationships
get better when they live apart.
Adult working child, if your lifestyle or behavior
conflicts with those of your parents, or their
expectations are different, then it is imperative that,
without argument, you seek your own dwelling place. Be
Adult working child, from the moment you start working
full-time or even part-time, remember to start saving to
live alone. Do not give the excuse to stay with mom and
dad is to build your own home, but you take many years
doing so. Get to work now.
Parents, examine your own need to constantly be in
control of your child’s life. This is not healthy.
They are adults. Let them go. Holding on to them
might be a sign of your own immaturity, insecurity, or
emotional problems. You may need help to declutter
your home of your adult children. Do not be a hoarder
of adult children.
Gone are the days when mature, self-supporting, independent
adults are only married folks. It seems as though the
percentage of twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings who
are happily not married is increasing. Parents, be proud of
your working adult children. Show them your love by
charging them rent or where needed, by kicking them out of
the home to live on their own.
Barrington H. Brennen, MA, NCP, BCCP, is a
marriage and family therapist and board certified clinical
psychotherapist, USA. Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
or write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau,
The Bahamas, or visitwww.soencouragement.org
or call 242-327-1980 or 242-477-4002.